Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Science of an Argument

Chapter 2: The Fight
Recap from Chapter 1: "Intro to Fighting" & "The Approach"
1. Arguing only has the POTENTIAL to cause negative outcomes
2. The Approach is the most important aspect of the argument.
3. The Approach directly influences the outcome of  the argument.
4. The mental and physiological state you are in prior to the argument will direct the fight.
5. If you are in a state that will undermine your desired outcome of the argument you need a "jarring". 
6. Try the "Opponent Appreciation" and "Movie Theater Effect" techniques to create a more resourceful state and get the result you desire. 

Chapter 2: The Fight 

Arguing can be an extremely toxic event for any relationship or create an important opportunity for growth. The difference between heading down these two opposing pathways is monumental to relationships. The difference in these two paths can be found in just a handful of decisions

This blog is to help you navigate how to experience growth, increase closeness, heightened intimacy, and developing feelings of accomplishment through an argument.  

Challenge: Your Relationship to Fighting

Take a second to right down some words that you associate with arguing. These words may be negative, positive, seem unrelated, or from direct experience. You may see fighting as a defense mechanism, a way for you to connect with others, or possibly a tactic that makes you feel important and noticed. 

The importance of this exercise is to discover what cognitive relationships you associate to arguments and fighting. Once you recognize if your connection is positive or negative you can begin to witness its effects on "The Approach" and now how to change these limiting beliefs for "The Fight"

Limiting Belief: (noun) Thoughts and Beliefs that are manifested consciously or subconsciously that serve as obstacles and barriers to a desired or healthy behavior/decision. 

"The Fight" is the ACTION stage within this whole process and where most people use their own style to out-perform their opponent and reign victorious. 

The problem is developed because these "styles" that people use in their arguments are developed from typically subconscious feelings and can easily be expressed irrationally, untimely, and at your partners expense. 

Our goal here is to develop arguing skills that will allow us to experience healthy growth, connection, certainty, and significance.

"Top 5 Rules to Successful Arguing"  

1.Stay on Task
One of the biggest mistakes individuals make in arguing is that they do not stay on task. Understand what you are arguing about and keep this in mind with each point you bring up. When you feel like you are drifting away from the main topic, take second to regroup and jump back in. The last thing you want to be doing is yelling about who left the lights on, when the actual argument is about calling to say you will be home late.

2. Use "I" Statements
Let's face it, humans typically get defensive very quickly and on a large scale. No female wants to feel like a piece of property, while no man wants to feel completely bossed around. When addressing personal preferences and perspectives start your statement with, "I feel as though vs. You always" in order to convey (on a conscious   and subconscious level) that you understand this may not be the case BUT this is how it makes you feel.

3. Cool-off
Under no circumstance should anybody be yelling. If it has reached this point, neither of you are being heard, there will be no winner (your relationship will suffer), you are negatively affecting those around you, and the argument has reached the toxic zone. If you feel as though you are going to yell it is completely permissible to say "This is a very important conversation and do think it is necessary to talk about it, but I need to take a couple minutes to regroup". 

                                    4. Be Quiet
Upwards of 90% of communication is non-verbal and if you don't silence that yapper for a portion of the argument, you will miss all the important cues. Allow the other person to speak freely without interruption (this may be challenging, but that is normal). Listen to their points and much more importantly, how it makes them feel. 

5. No Direction
Isn't it the most frustrating thing in the world when you begin fighting with somebody who "loves to argue". Quickly identify if you are one of those people. Do you contest, argue, and disagree with a high percentage of things around you? If so, keep this close to mind when arguing, because you are at higher risk of not "staying on task". If you are one of these people, you tend to see your way and throw up the blinders for any other perspectives. Be flexible, honest, and open during argument. 

Stay tuned next week for Part III of,
"The Science of an Argument" 
Chapters 3-4: "The Resolution" and "The Aftermath"


Jonathan B. Wolf, Ed.M.
YouTime Coaching

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